October 6, 2010
by Ariel Adams
I don’t love all Breitling watches – far from it. Though I have always been a fan of the “new” Superocean watch collection, which for me ironically started with the Superocean Heritage watch collection. Be it the three-hand or the chronograph, those are awesome watches. Vintage watches tend to be smaller, but the vintage inspired Superocean Heritage was 46mm wide. Oddly enough, the futuristic looking new Superocean for 2010 watch is 42mm wide. Hmm…. At 42mm wide it is a very wearable watch. Doesn’t have that wrist jarring visual “pop” that many larger Breitling watches have, but these aren’t small timepieces. Oh, and some people call these new watches the “Superocean II,” but it seems better to just say 2010 Superocean watches (as it is more common to do so).
At the same time, they don’t wear big due to the thickness of the bezel and the large sized hands and hour markers. They are so big, that they act to dwarf the size of the watch a bit. See what I mean? Drastically different than the outgoing Superocean watches, they show a new way of looking at Breitling dive timepieces. I was pretty drawn to them when I first learned about them many months ago, but didn’t want to write about them until I got my hands on the watches. Well I did, and now that I have annoyed Breitling enough with my watch nerdery, I wanted to share my impressions (it is funny when you meet with a brand as a journalist/blogger – whatever, that actually is really into watches. They are sometimes weirded out when you actually look at the watch in details, ask questions, etc…).
The case is really nice. Very solid, high quality steel, with good polish and soft edges. Save for a few watches, Breitling follows the “feels good in the hand” philosophy when it comes to watch case design – which means few to no sharp edges. You can (most) always count on Breitling to have watches that are fully polished as well. None of this “brushed steel” nonsense for them. I really can’t think of too many other luxury dive watches that are all polished like this.
As a pro dive watch, the new watch will perform well. Now water resistant to 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), the cases are highly durable and water resistant. The case also has an automatic helium escape valve. The hands and hour markers are very easy to see, and I love the action of the rotating diver’s bezel. Notice that the style of the bezel is like a modern version of what the Superocean Heritage has. Here with those techie looking numerals (while the Heritage was just indicators). The black sections on the bezel are actually vulcanized rubber. Though the lack of the lume dot at the 60 minute marker might be a problem for some.
While I think the dials are cool looking, and really unique, they are a mixed bag to me. They actually feel a bit cluttered. As though the space in the dial isn’t enough for the hour markers. The hands are fine, but don’t look well suited to dealing with the scrunched together numerals. So while I love the large, lume coated hour markers with the Arabic numerals and the markers, I think that the watch hands have a hard time playing nice with them. Does this really detract from legibility? No so much, but they might feep the watch from being a design classic in the future. Though I do have to say that the massive applied numerals are fun looking.
The colorful choices are all about changing up the inner flange ring. There are five choices to start being black, whitish gray, yellow, blue, and red. I am sure at least one of them speaks to you. Nice to see Breitling playing the color game. To us it might seem silly at times, but the power of color and choice is a force to be reckoned with. Inside the watch is the Breitling Calibre 17, which is an ETA automatic movement (the 2892 I think). Breitling has the Superocean 2010 models all Chronometer Certified which is cool.
Breitling offers the Superocean on two rubber strap options, and their famous angled link steel bracelet. The locking fold over deployment clasp on the rubber straps is legendary. So smooth, so well fitting. They are very well-make and will impress you compared to other such deployments. Not sure about price – in the $2-3 grand range I imagine. UPDATE: Price range is $2,695 – $3,085. Certainly a decent watch for the price, and a good size for activity being large enough, but not too big. They should be out just about now.